Every morning the email piles into my inbox. One of my first tasks is going through everything, figuring out what’s important, and what to delete. I thought I’d share with you some of my techniques, as they may help you tame your own email beast.
- I use Outlook. This helps a great deal with the tasks I’m sharing with you today. I know there are many tools out there that work. This is just the one I’m most comfortable with.
- I set up subfolders for different projects. When I come upon an email for a project that I may have to refer to again, I put it into the subfolder for that project. This saves so much time that would otherwise be spent searching when I have to find it again.
- I import all my email accounts into Outlook, but have it delivered into different folders. This helps me sort between business and personal mail without having to log into different systems (a timesaver!)
- I set up rules and folders for email subscriptions. I subscribe to a number of business and food blogs, but these are different types of reading for me, and I don’t do them at the same time. So I’ve set up sub-folders in my inbox for each type of subscription. Then, I set up a rule in Outlook, so when messages from those sites come in, they are automatically delivered to the appropriate folder. When I’m ready to read them, I simply click over to that folder. By using this process, they are no longer part of my morning email sort, and are instead pre-sorted for me.
- I use flags during my morning sort. As I read through, I flag those items that require action. Rather than taking that action immediately, and then coming back to my email for the next task, I simply flag each item initially. Then, I sort my view of my inbox so that all flagged items appear on top. This allows me to work through all items after the initial sort. Outlook even allows you to prioritize your flags by choosing different colors. So first priority items could be red, next priority yellow, and so on. Once I complete a task, I click the flag again and it disappears from the flagged list.
By using these simple systems, I save myself time in the morning, and can instead focus on the tasks that are most important to my day.
How do you manage your inbox? Would love to read your thoughts in the comments.